Higher education affordability
State budget cuts to higher education along with rapidly rising college tuitions have greatly reduced the opportunity for many Americans to earn a degree. The average cost of tuition and fees at state-sponsored four-year colleges is now 50% higher than it was only 10 years ago. The average cost for a resident student attending a four-year public university today is about $17,000 a year – and over twice this amount for a private school. Over the past 35 years, tuition costs have increased 1,100%. The typical debt for those with a student loan is now about $35,000. Many millennials say student debt prevents them from obtaining items needed for adult life. Colleges and universities receive much of their revenue from federal student grants and loans. Year after year, it is common for these institutions to enact tuition increases that dwarf the inflation rate.

Critics blame universities for skyrocketing tuitions by not controlling costs and wasting money on unnecessary expenses, sports teams, glamorous research programs, and excessive administrator compensation. Recently, the Federal Reserve Bank issued a report that blamed the rapid rise in college tuition on the increase in federal student loans and grants which has made more dollars available to schools. The Fed states that many of these institutions took this opportunity to unnecessarily increase the cost of obtaining a degree. The Fed discovered that for every dollar awarded in student grants and loans, tuition goes up about 60 cents. In the past, student advocates have said cost containment and increased tuition assistance are the only ways to keep college accessible to all Americans. It now appears that measures to contain the apparent greed of many school administrators should also be added to this list.

Higher education critics also say today’s higher education system is not meeting our nation’s needs because the proportion of young adults with two or four-year degrees is still the same (39%) as it was 30 years ago. They say we need to increase this proportion to 55% by 2020 if we are to stay globally competitive.

Pending Legislation:
H.R.747 - Proprietary Education Oversight Coordination Improvement Act

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Poll Opening Date
May 21, 2020
Poll Closing Date
May 27, 2020

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